Documentary journalism course to showcase documentaries created by students

Students looking for a break from the stress of final exams next week will have the opportunity to take their minds off of their exams by attending a free screening of documentaries created by Marshall University documentary journalism students.

JMC 475 and 575 students will be showcasing their finished documentaries Tuesday, May 2 from 12:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. in the Memorial Student Center in room BE5. Students in the class conducted interviews, filmed, produced and edited their own films in a span of eight weeks.

Topics of the students’ documentaries include the opioid crisis in West Virginia, suicide prevention, public education, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Ronald McDonald House charities and conspiracy theories.

W. Page Pitt School of Journalism professor Lynne Marsh taught the documentary class and said she really enjoyed seeing the passion her students put into their documentaries.

“There are many ways to tell stories in our field of journalism and this distinct method of storytelling is very important in the world today,” Marsh said. “I’m really proud of all of the hard work that they have done to create these documentaries.”

Before creating their own documentaries, students in the class prepared by watching and critiquing professional journalistic documentaries.

Heather Barker is a print and online journalism major and is in the group of students who filmed and produced their documentary on the Ronald McDonald House charities.

“I feel that I am more capable of filming and putting together a project that can make an impact on the community and present a well thought out story that can make a difference,” Barker said.

Public relations and advertising major Sadie Helmick’s group produced and filmed a documentary on West Virginia’s opioid crisis and said that working on their documentary helped her to put herself in other people’s shoes.

“Throughout this semester I not only learned how to manage my time, but I also learned how to fully empathize with people who are experiencing their worst days,” Helmick said.

Following the screening, those in attendance can participate in a question and answer session with the students who produced and filmed the documentaries, as well as the instructor of the class.

Adam Stephens can be contacted at [email protected].